By Caroline Lindstrom
The Baylor equestrian team finished as runner-up in the Big 12, with a 10-9 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday at the Willis Family Equestrian Center in Waco.
“Naturally I am not totally pleased with the outcome because I wish we would have won, but overall, I think the girls did an excellent job,” head coach Ellen White said.
The Bears fell in the first two events of the day, losing horsemanship 4-1 and fences 3-2. The Cowgirls led 7-3 heading into the second half of the meet, when the Bears dominated in equitation on the flat, sweeping the event 5-0.
The Bears lead 8-7 heading into the reining portion of the meet. After several official reviews, the Cowgirls took the reining event 3-1, winning their third straight Big 12 title.
“We got off to a slow start, but I think the rally in flat boosted our momentum and we felt like we could do it,” junior Samantha Schaefer said.
Schaefer earned Most Outstanding Performer honors in fences with a score of 171, over OSU rider, Samantha Elser’s score of 126. Freshman Alicia Gasser also earned Most Outstanding Player honors for the Bears in equitation on the flat. Gasser scored a 151, defeating OSU rider Samantha Harrison’s score of 137.
“We had four All-Americans for the NCEA, and all of those girls have been riding phenomenal,” White said. “A lot of it is talent and a lot of it is that grit and determination to win.”
Schaefer also received All Big 12 Team in equitation over fences and on the flat. She also received Fences Rider of the Year for the Big 12. Sophomore Paige Parker was also selected to the All Big 12 Team in equitation over fences. Senior Bryn Lindley received All Big 12 Team in the horsemanship event, as well as Horsemanship Rider of the Year. Wrapping up the Big 12 awards, senior Katherine Berg was selected to the All Big 12 Team in the reining event.
“It is an exciting goal of mine to win the awards at the end of the year because I set those goals at the beginning of the year,” Schaefer said.
The Bears will compete at the NCEA National Championship, April 17-19 in Waco at the Extraco Events Center.
Schaefer said championship matches bring a heightened pressure, and the team is hoping to rise to the occasion.
“The big thing is to keep them on top of their game, and not get them too fired up so they burn out early, but keep building them and building them until we get to the championships,” White said.